Alexander Glazunov’s Rêverie
, Op 24, published in 1890, is a much-loved work amongst horn players. It is a short, dreamy piece exploiting the lyrical side of the instrument. In fact Glazunov studied the horn, in addition to the piano, violin, cello, clarinet, trumpet and trombone! I recently heard an anecdote involving the great British horn player Anthony Halstead, which I think encapsulates the piece perfectly; when the LSO went on their great tour of Russia with André Previn, the horn sections of the LSO and Leningrad Philharmonic ended up in the apartment of Vitaly Bujanovsky, the orchestra’s legendary Principal Horn. The English didn’t speak a word of Russian, nor did the Russians speak any English. Bujanovsky picked up his horn and said one word to Tony, also an accomplished pianist: ‘Glazunov’. No music of course but it was obvious what he had in mind. Tony played those great chords of D flat major and off they went! At the end the combined sections of both orchestras were in tears.
from notes by Richard Watkins © 2019